Vanya

Here’s a situation, a difficult one, and, alas, we can’t go into all the details.
Vanya’s 15, lives with grandma. The family was leading a normal life, as far as it’s possible for a fatherless family to live in LPR. Yes, they are from Lugansk, we were connected by social workers who also aid the family.
The mother has a job at the front desk at the railway station. The grandma draws a pension. Not much money, but just enough.
On April 26, 2017, the boy was walking from an aikido session back home. He was hit by a fast-moving car on a pedestrian crossing. I won’t go into all the details. Bottom line is that his life was saved, but he’s disabled. He had a broken forehead bone, requiring a trepanation. In the end he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Raynaud’s Syndrome, and several other ailments (the medical history extract is at the bottom of the post).

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Presents for the Children of Lugask

This New Year’s party for the kids was organized for the Lugansk Social Services Center for the Family, Children, and Youth (every time I have to look up the full name–it’s simply horror). This Center, with which we’ve been working for the last five years, helps children.
This year we’re once again the Grandfather Frost. The Center provides aid to children who found themselves in difficult situations. Disabled children, children of single moms, multi-child families. Children from families who lost their homes to shells. Children who lost their providers due to fighting. The Center helps them all in accordance with its abilities. As do we. You will see many children from families whom we assist among these photos.
None of these kids have it easy.
In addition to the 65 kids at this party, we brought greetings to those kids who prepared it. About 50 children from various dance and theater groups performed at this party at the former Pioneers’ Home in Lugansk. As the kids said themselves, they’ve been performing for 20 days at various parties and watching how other kids get presents. Therefore we could not but give them presents as well. Lena said they were “beside themselves with joy–we are ALSO getting presents?”

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New Year in Kalinovo

Kalinovo is a town in the “gray zone”. Shelling there is the norm. Yes, even today, when everyone is enthusiastically writing about troop separation and “silence”. Kalinovo is right next to Pervomaysk, LPR.
On December 27 our team visited that town for the New Year tree celebration as Grandfather Frosts bearing presents for the kids. Alas, I was not there, but our friends photographed everything. For many children at the event life without war is pure fantasy. They’ve known no other. They don’t know it’s possible to go out at night, that there might not be a curfew. That there might not be shooting, and that one doesn’t have to be always ready to throw oneself on the ground. There is a whole generation which will go to school knowing nothing but war.
What else is there to write–alas, nothing has changed in those places since last year. The situation has not gotten better. As much shooting as before. People live like before. They are surviving. Everyone who could has left. Those who haven’t are not there by choice.
And yes, children live there too. They go to school, to extracurricular activities, theater circles. These kids are just like yours and mine. Merry, funny, sometimes serious. They believe in Grandfather Frost and Snow Maiden, they expect miracles like all other kids on Earth.
I can say one thing. The Kalinovo holidays are the most heartfelt of all we’ve visited. People are excited to get presents like nowhere else.
The holidays are organized by the inhabitants themselves. Grandfather Frosts, Snow Maidens, Baba Yagas, the costumes, the plot, the preparations, rehearsals. For their own kids. And I’m boundlessly glad that our team is making its own contribution to providing a bit of happiness for these kids.

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Diana

Friends, we have a new family. I often have to read comments about how Donbass people are freeloaders and we shouldn’t be helping them. It’s saddening to have to time and again explain, prove seemingly obvious things. That people there struggle, that there’s fighting there, and it’s not easy to leave. Yes, it’s not easy, and forget aobu tthe stories about how supposedly here in Russia they are being given everything but they are rudely refusing, they only want to come to Moscow. People, let’s just pause and think about the fact that it’s VERY difficult to get set up, and that not everyone can readily do it. Many of those whom we help have left and tried. But failed. And yes, we should not we are not helping every single person there.
Our people are not those who are simply struggling. They are people who are struggling very hard. It’s awful to have to write such things, but yes, we do see tears from people who did not expect the help. People who often have nobody to turn to, nowhere to go to and, it seems were at some breaking point. Disabled, elderly, single mothers with many children. The most vulnerable.
Our new family is like that.
Look at the kids on the photo. Their mother abandoned them.
She probably doesn’t think she did. Simply dumped them onto her elderly mother, their grandmother, and vanished. Left them in Lugansk and went somewhere without war.
Unfortunately, we sometimes see such “deadbeats”,

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Oksana’s Family

Oksana’s husband perished on May 9, 2015, defending his Motherland. I don’t even know what to write, the new Motherland of LPR, or the old one, but which one? He was a militiaman and, like many, he wen toff to defend his home in Lugansk in ’14.
He left behind a wife with two children, Masha and Kolya. Here they are, on the first photo.
Oksana went through hell and one can’t even say she’s out of it yet. Only the children are keeping her afloat. She did not really live for several years after the death, she loved her husband so much. She closed inwardly but, thank God, did not lose her mind. We have helped many children whose mothers went insane due to what they went through, and who now live with their grandmothers. Kolya and Masha live with their mom and thank God everyone is alive and well.
But they are struggling.
In the fall I wrote about how all of their appliances burned down. Thanks to the money we collected we were able to not only help the family with food and medications, but even bought them a washing machine. Oksana never asked anything of us. She is very modest and does not complain. Many thanks to caring people who volunteered to help in this difficult situation.
You know, I am often offended by people who leave comments stating they also fare poorly but “they are not takers.” I’ll say this: none of these people is a “taker”. What is more–one must ask. This is normal and correct in a difficult situation. Nobody has written a comment “Dunya, please help me, I’m barely surviving.” No, these comments are simple insults directed at me and at those whom we help. I always feel bitter when I read them. I would like there to be as few people as possible in such situations. But I would also want people not to envy others and were instead able to be happy for them.
Interestingly, often people we help turn down our aid. They may have an empty refrigerator, but they’ll say “someone needs it more”. Be merciful and don’t judge! Be able to forgive, not envy, and give. Anyone can find themselves in a tight spot, anyone at all, and this war has taught me that. Don’t judge and don’t think that if you are doing well, it’s because you are doing something rights. Sometime these are people who are at odds with logic. Don’t overestimate it, it will get ahead of you and smack you on the nose.

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Learning to hear. Help is needed!

Rodion is a boy from Lugansk who was born deaf. He turned 3 in November. And thank God he was able to undergo cochlear implantation on both ears by that age. The first ear was implanted in Moscow last spring, the second in September, in Kiev. The implants will eventually allow him to hear.
As you know, we helped organize the Moscow part. Thanks to Irina Bednova, the implant was done for FREE. Thanks to you, we were able to help the family with money for the trip, stay, medications, etc. In Kiev the operation was also free of charge, and thank God that’s how it turned out.
But now there’s this situation.
The operation was only one stage. The rest consist of tuning the apparatus and conducting exercises. We’ve managed to deal with the latter. There is a clinic in Rostov, MasterSlukh, which now works with the boy. Rodion made several visits and had intensive exercises with their specialists. They tuned the Moscow implant and worked with the boy. And, most importantly, taught the mom how to work with Rodion and how to have exercises with him. Big thanks to physicians, educators, and hearing specialists who are helping Anya (mom) and Rodion!

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New Year on the Donbass

Isn’t it too soon? If anything, it’s too late. Well, not entirely, of course.
Friends, since 2014 we have been providing New Year’s greetings for people who live in the war zone. At first it was all very chaotic–someone collected presents, brought them to me, someone bought gift sets and also brought them to my home. We then drove with it from Moscow and other cities to LPR/DPR and distributed among the children.
After that we started to look after not only after the kids but also adults–in hospices, retirement homes. I recall how in January ’15 we simply gave toys to all the kids we met in the grey zones–where there’s still fighting. There weren’t many kids, but I remember nearly all of their faces…I was so scared then–there was constant roar of incoming and outgoing shells. It was noisy the whole time, and the children already back then, five years ago, were so used to it that they did not react to explosions…

Visiting the Redheads

Our guys visited the redheads a couple of times. The kids had tonsillitis. But even sick, with fever, they were beaming life. Our sunny living dynamos)
When our Lena visited, they threw themselves at her, and told her the tales of how they were being treated. Which medications they took, how their throats were being brushed.
Just look at them!

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Shall we help Rodion?

Friends, we have news about Rodion.
A deaf boy from Lugansk whom we are helping.
A miracle happened last spring, and thanks to Irina Bednova we were able to take him to Moscow for a cochlear implant on his right ear. For free?
Since then he’s been undergoing a long training and rehabilitation course.
To read about Rodion, click on the “Rodion” tag at the bottom of this post.
We recently got unexpected and wonderful news. In September his other ear was implanted. Also for free. This time it was done not in Russia but in Ukraine, which makes us very happy. I’m honestly very glad they are also helping the inhabitants of the Republics, because more often than not we hear stories about refusals. The left ear received an implant in Kiev. Now he has two implants. It’s good it happened so quickly. I was told by specialists that the training and tuning process should ideally happen on both ears at once.

News from Oksana!

Friends, we have wonderful news from Oksana!!!
I wrote about the woman in late August. It was titled “It didn’t burn because it was empty”, and described how difficult it was for Oksana and her two kids in Lugansk.
She became a widow–her husband joined the militia almost immediately at the beginning and died in ’15–a bullet wound to the head.
The strange name of that post was due to the fridge. There was a short circuit or something like that and all the electrical appliances burned out, down to mobile phones that were being recharged.
Now she’s really struggling.
She has a disability and serious headaches. The benefits due to the loss of a breadwinner in LPR are miserly.
Many people wrote me who all wanted to help Oksana.
Here I want to say, big thanks to you all! Thank you for being there, for your compassion and caring. We were all in shock)
And you can imagine Oksana’s shock!
We were able to collect a lot of money. After talking to her, we bought her a washing machine!!!! That’s how things are. Please look at the kids, at how they are smiling.
Because the mom is smiling, too)
Things are on the mend.
Mom’s hands and back will be able to rest)

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